Ethiopia lifts state of emergency two months early
Ethiopia’s parliament has lifted its state of emergency two months early, after ministers voted that law and order has been restored in the country, according to state media.
The country’s council of Ministers approved a draft law on Saturday to lift the current state of emergency which started in October 2016, following months of protests from Oromo groups in the country.
The nation has been in an official state of emergency since February 16 and has experienced two years of protests.
The Oromos are Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group and make up around a third of the nation’s 100 million population.
They say they have been marginalized and persecuted for years and have called for political inclusion and change for years.
Ethiopia’s new leader Abiy Ahmed is Ethiopia’s first Oromo prime minister and he was sworn in in April as an attempt to bring calm to the country.
Ahmed, 41, is currently the youngest leader in Africa and is making waves with his reform agenda.
Since taking office, Ahmed has freed many journalist’s bloggers and political prisoners have been released, according to Human Rights Watch. British citizen Andargachew Tsega was also among those freed last week, an opposition leader and outspoken critic of the Ethiopian government, he was arrested in Yemen in 2014 and extradited to Addis Ababa. Tsega was reportedly on death row for four years.
Since he took over as leader, Ahmed has made several trips abroad initiating the release of Ethiopians detained in places like Djibouti, Sudan and Kenya.
In May, Ahmed also met with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman which resulted in the Saudi government freeing 1,000 Ethiopian nationals, including billionaire Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi, local media reported.
Al Amoudi was arrested in November as part of the wave of high-profile Saudi officials held in an anti-corruption campaign and imprisoned in the lavish Ritz Carlton hotel. Ahmed has also ended a web blackout that had lasted three months prior to him taking office.
And for the first time, the country’s publicly owned Ethiopia telecoms company will partner with a private company to provide internet services to locals.